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What to visit in Pula and the surrounding areas

Hi, everyone!

In my last post I talked to you in detail about my experience in Pula, life in the city, etc. Today I want to tell you about the places that you can't miss out on visiting in the city.

As I said in my last post, the Italian influence can be perfectly seen in Pula. In addition to the gastronomy or the language, we saw it, for example, in the Italian architecture of the fronts of houses.

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Of all of the cultures and towns which left their mark on the city, it was definitely Rome which left the most important one. The historic district is very small, but in each corner you can see different Roman remains.

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Ampitheatre

Also known as the Arena, this is the best monument in Pula without a doubt. It is one of the biggest ones in the world and it is one of the best conserved ones, surviving different challenges such as wars and the passing of time. In fact, in the past it was used as a quarry for other buildings in the city.

It was built at the same time of the Colosseum in Rome, therefore you are able to appreciate quite a few similarities between the two.

There murals stretch 32 metres and it was built out of limestone. It has a capacity of 20,000 spectators who in the past went there to see gladiator fights, tournaments, etc. Nowadays its purpose is quite different, it hosts musical and film-based shows. The most celebrated one is the Pula Film Festival, which is the most important one in the country.

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To go inside the ampitheatre, you have to pay 50 Kunas for an adult, so almost 7 euros. There are discounts for students and they can pay 25 Kunas.

The opening hours are from 8 am till 9 pm from April to October. The rest of the year they are from 9 am till 5 pm. Anyway, depending on the months the timings may vary; in the summer it usually closes later.

I have to say that you can see the amphitheatre quite well from the outside, you can go all around the walls. I went inside because Pula had been my home for some long that I should at least see the inside of it. Even so, I wouldn't say that it is a must-see since, as I said, you can see the inside very well just from the outside.

But it's true that by paying the entry you can visit some underground passageways which were used by fighters in the past to get around, which now are used as galleries; where they permanently show different vine crops and they explain how they are grown, as well as for olives. They are two very important products in the city and they have been sources of income since the ancient times.

I remember one day when it snowed all day long and we all went out in the city to enjoy it in the snow. The amphitheatre was pretty and it was very different to all the times that I had previously seen it. It was the only day that it had snowed in Pula and in fact the locals said that it was the first time in 30 years that it had occurred.

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Sergio Arch

From the amphitheatre, through the entire town and up to the Sergio Arch you can walk along a street, the main artery of the city, which was formerly called Via Flavia.

All of this street is full of beautiful coloured buildings, charming restaurant terraces and in the area which is closest to the arch there are souvenir shops, one after the other. This is what I liked the least about this avenue because it took away from the authenticity of the city, in fact during the whole of the winter they stay shut until the tourists arrive at the beginning of May.

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The Sergio Arch was built in the year 27 B. C. and it was formally the door which provided entrance into the city.

I have to say that it is one of my favourite places in the city and in the whole area, there is an incredible atmosphere. There are several bars and restaurants and as well as that, it is very common that they have different shows here, therefore it is usually quite lively.

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Roman Forum

This area is one of the most popular in the city and it is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee.

The building which stands out the most on this square is the Temple of Augustus. This is the only building which remains from the original Roman forum in Pula, which was built between the years 2... and 14 A. D. and it is dedicated to god Roma and the emperor Augustus.

It had to be reconstructed because it suffered a lot of damage during the Second World War.

Currently, it is used as a museum where they show various Roman stone sculptures. You can enter for free.

As well as its cultural heritage, if Croatia is known for something it is for its beautiful beaches with turquoise waters and little rocks instead of sand. I already told you this in the last post, but it is very important to wear beach shoes if you don't want to kill your feet. These are some of the beaches in Pula, the ones that I know the best and that I like the most:

Lungomare beach

This beach is the one that I went to most during my time in Pula without a doubt. Mainly because it was the closest beach to the city centre, around a 30 minute walk more or less. For practically all of the others, we had to get a bus.

Anyway, we liked this beach a lot and somehow, we got very used to going to it. It wasn't usually too full and also a lot of people, including us. went on the rocks to sunbathe. The truth is that it ended up being quite a lot more comfortable than lying on the rocky beach.

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The water, like in all of the Croatian beaches, was not cold. In fact, for me, the water was the perfect temperature and there were days where you could spend the whole afternoon in the water like a fish. I also have to say that I come from the North so I am used to swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, which is quite a lot colder, but in general, all of my Erasmus friends thought the same as me.

Stoja beach

This is the beach that I discovered one day in my first few weeks in Pula, walking from the centre along the entire coast to get to the Stoja area.

In this area, there is a campsite, several bars and restaurants and different beaches. Even though the one that I liked the most was the one in this photo, I actually never found out what it was called.

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It is really easy to get there by bus since there is a line that takes you really close to the campsite and which is a 5-minute walk from the beach.

Hawaii Beach

This is the other beach in Pula which you have to take a bus to get to, or go in your own car from the centre since it is quite far away. The bus stop which is very close by to the Sergio Arch is where you can find most of the buses which go to Stoja and other surrounding areas. In this case, you have to take the line which goes to Verduela. You have to get off at the final stop of the route and from there, walk for 15 minutes to get to the beach. It will leave you right in front of the area where you can find the Hotel Park Plaza Verudela. There is an accessible parking for anyone to use, whether you are staying at the hotel or not, for those who are travelling in their own car.

The Hawaii beach is very pretty, but the bad thing is that it gets quite full in summer, as well as being quite small. This can make it end up a bit claustrophobic, in fact, from May onwards there were quite a few tourists that we had to go on the rocks. Therefore, if you have no other option than to travel in summer, the best thing is to go first thing in the morning to enjoy the beach to your liking.

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Very close to this beach, as I told you earlier, is the hotel. You only have to walk for around 10 minutes to get to the pool. The most surprising thing is, even though the pool belongs to the hotel, there is no kind of system to know if the people who are using it are staying at the hotel or not. Even at the start, we thought that with them having a restaurant right next to the pool, they would allow those who had something to eat there to enter the pool, but at one point we went in directly without passing through there and they never called us out about it.

It is true that it is only a pool, and therefore if you are only going on holiday to Pula for a couple of days I would not consider it a must-visit location; it is better to go to the beaches in Pula which are abundant. But in our case, sometimes we fancied going to a pool before or after going to Hawaii beach, and it is true that it has some amazing views of the coast.

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Also nearby to the Hawaii beach, but towards the other direction, you will find one of the best places in Pula to enjoy a sunset. I went at the beginning of the course and I discovered it thanks to my Paraguayan friend who really likes investigating and discovering new places. There were people waiting there for the sunset, but not too many. It was another one of those moments that I am going to remember forever.

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Galebove Stijene

This is one of my favourite places in Pula. There are several options to get there.

By car, there is an area to park which is quite nearby. You only have to walk for around 5 minutes, go down some stairs and then you are there.

You can also get there by bus using the same line as the one to get to Stoja, but you have to continue walking for about 20 minutes along the coast to get there. The walk is worth it because you have beautiful views of the whole coast.

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You can stay at the beautiful Cyclon beach sunbathing or having a dip, or even keep walking a bit further along the rocks until you get to the cliffs in the area which a lot of people jump off of. In fact, a lot of Erasmus students were jumping off each time that I went there. I tried, but I only managed to jump off from the lowest part. I have to say that it is quite shocking but if you are brave, you will love it. The clear and turquoise waters which are so typical of the Croatian coast make this place a true paradise.

It was right here where I came across quite a deep cave which you can access swimming or by kayak. I remember that we tried to one of the first few days but it was so dark that we decided to go back (yes, it was quite scary). However, another day we were lucky enough to come across two boys with lanterns who were going to go in the cave, so we went in with them. This allowed us to enjoy the cave and see the incredible colour of the water. I recommend it to everyone who wouldn't be scared to go inside and if you have lanterns then that is perfect.

I always remember this place because a lot of nights we used to start a fire and listen to music whilst eating marshmallows, etc, enjoying the heat of the campfire. These times were one of my favourite moments.

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Verudela Canon

I can't end this blog without talking to you about the most special place in Pula, or at least in my opinion. I am talking about the Verduela canon. I discovered this place by chance one of the times when visiting Hawaii beach, which is only around 5 minutes from this beach walking until you find this place hidden away.

When we went, there was a kind of rope making it impossible to go down to the canon, but to be honest nobody paid it too much attention and we went past anyway. In fact, the following times that I went there, I didn't see any kind of rope.

To get there you have to go along carefully since it is a downhill slope on stony terrain and it is quite slippery, in fact, I fell down once.

The place, as you can see in the photo, is incredible. During the day, the sun shines down completely allowing you to see the turquoise colour of the water, and when the sun goes down, it goes between the two rocky walls making this canon a magical place. Not too many people know about this place so it is very peaceful, and I am certain that if you go (although perhaps not in plain summer) you will be able to enjoy this place on your own. More than once, I was able to enjoy this place simply just having a dip with my friends; it was amazing.

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I hope you liked this post! There are a couple more places in the outskirts of Pula which are my favourites, but I will talk to you about them in a different post.

Thank you for reading and see you soon!


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